Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp back after a massive outage
Facebook has blamed an internal technical issue for an outage that affected the Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp apps for nearly six hours on October 4th, 2021.
Downdetector, which tracks outages, said they received 10.6 million problem reports around the world. However, the real number of people affected is much higher as more than 3.5 billion people use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp.
While many users were unable to contact and interact with their friends and family, businesses that use social media to connect with customers were faced with the prospect of an unexpected financial hit.
Facebook has apologised for the outage and assured users there was no evidence any data was compromised.
Reels launch on Facebook in the United States
Days after TikTok announced it had reached one billion active users, Facebook launched Reels to all its users in the United States – bringing its short-form video feature to even more people.
Reels first launched on Instagram in August 2020 as a direct competitor to TikTok. After TikTok was banned in India at the start of this year, Facebook began testing Reels in its main app in that territory. This latest expansion brings Reels to its 250 million US user base.
There is no further information on when Facebook intends to bring Reels to its main app in Europe, but it will likely happen soon.
Instagram test ‘Selected People’ for Stories
Instagram has begun a new test that enables users to select specific profiles that will be able to view their Stories, as part of an additional element in the Stories creation flow of every post.
Currently only available in Brazil, the feature allows users to make a list of their key contacts for Stories sharing, offering more control over which audience is able to view a specific Story each time it is published. As well as helping to facilitate more intimate private Story sharing, it could also open up a new form of specific Story sharing to only one or two friends at a time.
For brands, it could also offer new capacity, like announcing competition winners or offering exclusive deals to very specific audiences.
TikTok lets top creators sell trending videos as NFTs
TikTok is dipping its toes in the rapidly growing non-fungible token (NFT) scene with the release of a creator-led collection of digital assets inspired by trending videos.
Launching in partnership with top creators, such as Lil Nas X, Grimes, FNMeka and Rudy Willingham, users will be able to purchase a unique or limited edition file making them the sole owner of a viral video from their favourite creator.
TikTok’s foray into NFTs is the latest monetisation option it is exploring for its app. By enabling its creators more options to earn revenue from their content, it reduces the risk of losing them to other platforms such as Instagram that have more established monetisation tools.
Facebook explains what it means by metaverse
A blog post from Facebook has provided more details on its plan to launch a “fully realised” metaverse in the next 10 to 15 years and that it is investing $50 million in a global research program to bring it to life.
The blog defines its metaverse as a virtual space where people can “hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more.” It goes on to say that “just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not. And it won’t be built overnight”, nor will it be built by one single company.
Facebook has already invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality, most notably through its Oculus Quest Headset and the recently launched ‘Horizon Workrooms’ which shows avatars of everyone in a meeting talking with each other, as if they were really together, in a virtual reality space.